How to Transfer Money from One Account to Another

Brett Klein, Relationship Manager, First Republic Bank
September 13, 2022

  • There are several ways to transfer money between bank accounts, whether it's at the same or a different institution.
  • Some methods are low cost or free while others may charge higher fees.
  • Not all options require that you move money directly from your bank account.

When transferring money between banks, you generally have several options. You can transfer money to friends and family, from checking to savings accounts and more. You can even opt to use your bank’s transfer tools or a third-party app.

There are similarities and differences when you transfer funds to internal or external bank accounts, as well as alternatives that may be worth considering. You have a number of options if you’re wondering how to transfer money from one bank account to another.

What are bank-to-bank transfers?

Bank-to-bank transfers, also known as external transfers, work by electronically sending funds from one bank account to another account at a different bank. These accounts can be owned by the same person (if you have checking and savings accounts at different banks, for example), or by two different people at two different banks. 

A bank-to-bank electronic transfer uses the automated clearing house (ACH) network to move funds. The ACH network puts transfer requests in batches and submits them at different points during the business day. 

If you need to transfer money immediately, you can opt for a wire transfer, instead. These transfers usually come with higher fees, however.

How Much Does It Cost to Transfer Money Between Banks?
An ACH transfer between banks in the United States usually costs around $3. Some financial institutions offer free external transfers. There may be higher transfer fees with wire transfers versus an ACH transfer.

How to transfer money between banks: A step-by-step guide

Before sending money to another account, you’ll need specific information from both your account and the receiver’s account to initiate the transfer. You’ll also need this information if you’re transferring between two of your own accounts. If you want to transfer money to another bank account, you’ll need the following:

  • The sender’s bank name and routing number
  • The sender’s bank account number where the money is being transferred from
  • The recipient's bank name and routing number
  • The recipient’s specified type of bank account (such as a checking or savings account)
  • The recipient's account number

Step 1: Choose how you’re going to transfer money

You can begin your transfer by logging into your bank’s website or mobile bank app. From there, you can select either an internal or external transfer option. Many institutions offer an option to transfer money to another account within the same bank. This may include moving money from a checking account to a savings account, or between you and another person’s account at the same bank.

Step 2: Provide external account information

Once you’ve selected the transfer option that’s right for you, you’ll need to enter the account information for the other account. For this, you’ll typically need the account number, routing number and account type (e.g., savings, checking or other). You may want to have the account holder’s name available too, particularly if you plan to make recurring external transfers to it and want to save this information in your web-banking portal.

Step 3: Verify the new bank account

Some banks may ask you to verify that you have the right kind of permission to access an external account. Several banks may allow you to log in to an external account from within their own banking portal. If you can do this, it may give you immediate transfer access. Other financial institutions may initiate trial deposits into the account with small sums that you then verify with the bank. The bank then withdraws these trial deposits.

Step 4: Choose a transfer amount and frequency

You can determine the amount of money to transfer once the external bank account has been verified. Same-day ACH transfers are sometimes capped at $25,000 per transaction. Your bank may have its own limits. Reach out directly to your banking institution to learn more about their policies. You can also choose to make your transfer a one-time activity or a recurring one. Recurring transfers are ideal for weekly or monthly transfers. 

Step 5: Review and send the money

Once you're ready to send your funds, double-check that all of your account and deposit-amount information is accurate before submitting your transaction.

How Long Does It Take to Transfer Money Between Banks?
Internal bank transfers may happen immediately or within hours, depending on your bank. ACH transfers can happen on the same day or within two business days, depending on your bank.

Other ways to transfer money to bank accounts online

There are other ways to transfer money to bank accounts without using ACH. These come with their own pros, cons and use cases.

Peer-to-peer transfer apps

Peer-to-peer transfer apps, such as PayPal, Venmo and Zelle, can make it easy to transfer funds outside of bank transfers. PayPal and Venmo use linked bank accounts to transfer money over their own networks (and may charge their own fees). Zelle works through your bank or credit union, often within your existing bank's website or app. You can sign up for a Zelle account to receive funds, even if you don't have a supported bank account. Funds usually move between accounts within minutes.

Wire transfers

Wire transfers are an option when time is paramount. You can initiate a wire transfer in person or online. Once your wire transfer request is received, your bank will notify the other financial institution of the request. It will then release the funds to your bank to pass along to you. You’ll need the name of the recipient’s bank, its address and its Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) code. ACH transfers are usually not trackable, but a wire transfer has that capability through the federal reference number that is generated once a wire is initiated.

This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.